I've started a project to collect data to better understand the populations in my local area, whilst my primary focus is on Formica, I will be recording all the data of formicidae found in the area's of survey.
My hopes are to begin this project by creating a local database, I then hope to expand this project on a national scale, using Hertfordshire and the surrounding area's as my test sites for this data collection project to scope how viable this type of survey would be to replicate and roll out on a national scale.
For reasons I cant yet disclose, I have highlighted Formica rufa due to a research project that is currently underway, out of interest to that project, the database will focus on the genus of Formica, a genus with species in decline, Formica pratensis becoming extinct on the UK mainland by 1988, existing only on the Channel Islands, Formica rufibarbis & Formica exsecta are endangered on the verge of extinction according to UKBAP (UK Biodiversity Action Plan) offered protection as listed under section 41 of the NERC Act for England (E).
The majority of Formica are seen as near threatened, this means they are on the verge of being on the endangered list, as so they are offered protection status under these legislation guidelines.
These are just some of the legislations, schedules, sections & guidelines that offer a variety of ant species across the UK a protected status the full list is as follows.
On the priority endangered lists within these legislations:
On the near threatened list within these legislations:
When they say the law is there to be interpreted, it certainly applies to the patchwork guessing game of what possible legislation could be used for removing these species from protected habitats, a host of infractions, could be levied, your individual case and circumstance taken into consideration, for example removal of a single Queen from a protected habitat or listed species Vs removal of multiples of Queens, then intent, for personal keeping or for profits, the legislation varied depending where in the country your being prosecuted, use of The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (As amended) this legislation covers a wide range of protected species and habitats, giving legislative frameworks for designation of sites, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) Special Protection Area's (SPAs) Special Area's of Conservation (SACs).
Amendments in 1994 implemented two pieces of European law bringing together the designation of "European Protected Species".
At the very least you could find yourself facing a charge of theft or disturbance of wild animals, plants or habitats.
I feel through this journey I have some how become an intern in a law firm, it has not been easy to translate the legislation and track down a concrete answer to the protection status of this species.
Much of the work and data is still to being collected, as part of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 the next major update has been provisionally planned anytime now in the summer of 2021.
I expect the lists may be updated as small surveys began after the 2019 Strategic Plan.
This is pretty much a visual representation of the project that I am proposing, now remember I have no formal qualifications in the sciences, I'm not backed by any academic or scientific institution, I am a hobbyist, certainly I will say I feel I am at the point of my educational journey, that I feel confident enough to tackle a project such as this, voluntarily, in my own time, my way of contributing to these creatures that I adore, In the wider scope hoping to aid a wide spectrum of interested parties, conservationists, ecologists, myrmecologists, those who can use the data collected to make an impact and a difference to the survival of these species.
I will offer up the data I collect from this project for educational & scientific use, a small piece of a much larger puzzle, I hope to contribute to.
If you would like to show your support, for these projects, or the content I create, please consider checking out my Patreon.
Ants & The Colonialist